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gooelf50

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30 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Sopranos type of series with a nice touch of comedy, 16 August 2015
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My wife had just signed up for Netflix a few days earlier and while she was visiting her sister one weekend, I decided to have a look through the various listings. I recognized the name "Lilihammer" from the Olympics about twenty years back and decided to take a quick peak. The moment I saw Steven Van Zandt, I knew this was something I was going to have to watch. I was caught up in the story immediately. Initially, the series has a "Sopranos" flavour, but as it unwinds, you realize that's partly because of the mob presence, and partly because everyone remembers Steven as "Silvio", the Soprano's consigliere. The appearance of Tony Sirico, "Pauly Walnuts Gualtieri" in later episodes, reinforces the "Sopranos" undercurrent. That said, the series does not have the savage feel that the "Sopranos" has. Lilyhammer is a dark comedy. You often find yourself laughing in the face of a murderously menacing situation. Whoever came up with the premise of the series was a genius. You take an outcast mob turncoat, with a price on his head, place him in a quiet Norwegian town that once hosted the Olympics. The moment he arrives in this quiet little town, he decides to do something other than waste away and, using all of his mob learned skills, becomes the owner of a successful nightclub. He surrounds himself with oddball Norwegians and becomes something of a "Don" who endears himself to many who know him by doing almost as much good as bad. Many of the situations in which he and his "crew" find themselves, are hilarious, while others are menacing and deadly. I watched the entire 24 episodes over the weekend. Such a wonderful series only comes along once every decade. Congratulations to Steven Van Zandt.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Like Meeting Up With Old Friends 40 Years Later, 19 December 2013
10/10

Such a wonderful movie. I saw "Goin' Down the Road" decades ago and it made a big impression on me. I was a young man, about the same age as "Pete" and "Joey", when I first saw it. At first I thought it was a documentary as it was filmed in black and white and seemed totally unrehearsed. All these years after the fact, I can still recall the huge influx of young men from the East coast, into Ontario, during the 1960s. Most of them were fine fellows, who worked hard and loved to party. Some of them quickly became disillusioned with Ontario and moved restlessly on to the next promised land, the West Coast. Others remained in Ontario, put down roots, raised families and lived out their lives here. The rest simply didn't acclimate to the huge difference between life in Ontario and life in the Maritimes and eventually, returned to the East coast, disappointed, but happy that they gave it a try. I never failed to watch the original movie when I came across it, often in the wee hours of the morning. Invariably, I enjoyed the story immensely, but I was always left wondering what happened to the two restless young men who were so skillfully played by Doug McGrath and the late Paul Bradley. I was delighted when I stumbled across "Down the Road Again" while I was channel hopping a few months ago. I had no idea that a follow up to the original movie had been made. I found "Goin Down the Road" originally while I was channel hopping, so my discovery of the sequel, in exactly the same way, forty years later, was very appropriate. I enjoyed the sequel so much that I tried to find an email address for Doug McGrath, just so I could send him a short note to tell him what a great job he and the rest of the cast did and how much I loved both movies. I always felt a vague sense of sadness when I saw the two young men leaving Toronto and heading West at the end of the first movie. Happily, this final instalment answered most of the questions that were raised in the first movie. As I watched it, I felt like I was meeting up with some old friends from my distant youth and finding out how their lives had turned out.

Doubt (2008/I)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
I still have doubts, 24 March 2012
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was the most unsettling movie I have seen in many years. Throughout the showing I found myself wandering back and forth between condemnation of the Priest's behaviour, the Principal's behaviour and the behaviour of the young black student's Mother. The part of the traditional nun who is principal of a Catholic School is played perfectly by Meryl Streep. She's unhappy with change and views it almost as a loss of the comfort and peace of mind that comes with tradition. The part of the new Priest is played just as perfectly by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He views change in the way religion is practiced as absolutely essential and wants to see the iron fisted traditional rule of the principal disappear into the dark, inflexible past where it belongs. Thus, from the beginning of the movie there is a silent war between the two main characters. If you are a trusting and positive person, you may find yourself believing that the new priest is a wonderful man who cares about nothing more than the religious health and happiness of the parishioners and young students of his church. The affection that he displays for the troubled young black student at the centre of the controversy is touching and absolutely appropriate. On the other hand, if you are a more cynical person, likely to be suspicious of any behaviour that strays from the reserved understanding that a priest traditionally expresses in a more sombre way to his parishioners and students, then you may quickly decide that he is all of the things that the principal suspects him to be. In the end, the principal wins out and succeeds in driving the new priest out of the parish. He moves on to another parish where he has greater responsibilities and enjoys a higher level of professional respect. But I, the viewer, am left wondering if the principal is a paranoid cast back to 17th century religious practices, who victimizes a new priest simply because he represented change that she wasn't prepared to accept, or if the new Priest actually is an abuser who took advantage of a young vulnerable boy who had no one to turn to for comfort, but was ferreted out by a wise, no nonsense adherent to purity in religion.

Not So Little People in a Shrinking World, 9 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm blown away by this series. I love all of the Roloffs and believe that they're about as typical an American family as you're likely to find. Both Matt and Amy love their four children and don't hesitate to show that love on a regular basis. The kids are very typical in their tendency to be rebellious and sloppy and often talk back to their parents in a disrespectful manner. Notwithstanding, Matt and Amy endure and capably walk the thin line between being too controlling or too lenient. No question, Matt tries to micromanage everything that happens from the start to the finish of each episode, but he's usually thwarted in his efforts to completely take over by both Amy and his Father. Their counterbalance tends to keep everyone relatively happy with no noses being seriously out of joint. Matt is the ultimate mover and shaker. He is a dreamer of magnificent vision, but as is often the case with such individuals, he usually has far more on his plate than he can realistically hope to deal with. The farm is a strewn with half finished projects that Matt has started but in which he's lost interest because several newly conceived projects have taken priority and are now occupying all of his time. Having said that, look at all the family has been able to accomplish because of Matt's bold approach to life and his entrepreneurial flair. He managed to turn a simple pumpkin patch into a major money maker, while many farms across the country watch their pumpkins rot in the fields every year. Matt knows how to make things happen! I wouldn't be surprised if it was his idea to put the family's life on tape and show the rest of the world how his world turns.

16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Great Sci Fi hit of the 60s, 24 November 2007
9/10

I was just a teenager when this series was popular. I'd lie on the carpet in our living room and watch the plot of each episode unfold on our family's 21 inch black and white Electohome. The special effects were somewhat crude by today's digitalized standards, but they were state of the art at the time. The series centered around the experiences of the crew of the "Seaview", a remarkable nuclear submarine with capabilities far beyond those of the common submarines of the day. It could dive deeper and go faster than conventional undersea vessels and, as if that weren't enough, it could launch a small flying submarine that was as adept at flying in the stratosphere as it was at plying the depths of the world's oceans. The captain of the Seaview was Lee Crane, played by David Hedison. He was responsible for the day to day navigation and operation of the "Seaview". The ship was designed by Admiral Harriman Nelson, played by Richard Basehart. Admiral Nelson was always on the "Seaview" and made the larger decisions regarding the activities and challenges to be undertaken by the ship and it's intrepid crew. The Seaview often encountered monsters during it's explorations and these were my favorite episodes. More often however, the plot of the episode dealt with the larger political and environmental issues of the time. A great series that was about as stimulating as a young mind could wish for.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
African Queen! More of Bogey at his Best, 14 October 2007
10/10

It's odd how the passage of years results in the accumulation of a huge cache of memories from which the mundane and routine have been excluded. It's almost as if your memory becomes so inundated with information that it establishes an internal prioritization program that eliminates all but the finest memories from our minds. We remember only the finest cars we owned, the prettiest girls we dated, the finest meals we ever ate, etc. So it goes with entertainment and movies I suppose. Of the thousands of movies I've seen over my sixty plus years, there are perhaps 30 or so that I remember with both clarity and fondness. At the top of the list would be movies that starred Humphrey Bogart; in my estimation, the finest actor who ever lived. African Queen was probably one of the first Bogart movie that I ever saw and I was simply mesmerized by his and Katherine Hepburn's portrayals of a hard drinking roustabout teamed up with a prim and proper lady. The interaction between the 2 as they make their way along a dangerous river in a beat up little steam powered boat named "African Queen", all the while trying to avoid Nazi forces, is absolutely unforgettable. It's one of those movies that sucks you in and won't let go until the final scene rolls and the screen fades to black. Of course, how many movies did Bogey make that have an identical affect?... "Casablanca", "The Maltese Falcon", "To have or Have Not", "Dark Passage"... and the list goes on.

"Sky King" (1951)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Sky King Penny and Songbird to the rescue, 12 March 2007
9/10

This show accounted for so many hours of great entertainment during my childhood. The hero was Sky King, a rancher who preferred flying about in a great old twin engine Cessna along with his gorgeous blonde niece Penny. The plot was always simple and like so many of it's contemporary serials, the show always had a moral lesson, designed to keep it's young viewers on the straight and narrow. The aerial scenes were always thrilling and my young imagination kept me constantly in the co-pilot's seat, right beside Sky King. I, along with every other young boy in my neighborhood was in love with Penny. I believe they had a faithful German shepherd dog in the series as well and I believe the ranch was called the "Flying Wing" or "Flying Crown" or something like that. Sky was played by Kirby Grant, who later became the public relations director for Sea World in Florida. He died in the mid 1980s in a car accident. Gloria Winters who played Penny retired from show business after Sky King ended. I'm just waiting for "Deja Vu" or "TVLand" to bring the series back. I'll be watching when they do.

10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Men of Annapolis. Neat old TV series, 12 March 2007
9/10

I remember lying on the carpet in the front room when I was just a lad and watching this fine old naval series on the family's black and white 21 inch Electrohome TV. I can't recall what night it was on, but it always opened with an aerial shot of an aircraft carrier steaming through calm seas. I had no idea that Annapolis was the United States Naval Academy; I thought Annapolis was the name of the aircraft carrier. This was one of a few very entertaining military dramas of the 1950s - 1960s that dealt with the men of America's armed forces. I remember a few other similar series, ie: "The Silent Service" and "Men of West Point" and "Combat". They were also great TV series and dealt with the adventures of America's soldiers, sailors and airmen, usually during the Second World War. I watched in amazement as I saw a different story of bravery and courage each week. The men of the military were a hallowed breed in those days, only a decade or so following WWII. Just as brave were the courageous young men and women who followed in their footsteps in conflicts that have raged around the globe since the 50s.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Amos & Andy. A Great Old American T.V. series, 12 March 2007
9/10

I just loved watching this T.V. show when I was a youngster in the 1950s. I laughed and laughed at the funny stories that came out of each episode. I was only 10 -12 years old, but I remember that the stars were constantly embroiled in some sort of scheming and the results were invariably hilarious. These were lovable characters, and when I watched the show, it was the storyline and the predicaments that the characters found themselves in, that captured my attention, not the fact that they were black. Just in case you're wondering, I'm a white male, raised in Ontario Canada, and I and my friends watched the show religiously and discussed the stories at recess the next day. I can't recall ever hearing a reference to the fact that the characters were black. Invariably, we'd talk about what happened in the show and how funny the various actors reactions were. We never thought, "Only a black person would do something like that." or "Something like that would never happen to a white person." There was not much difference in the Amos & Andy show and several other comedy series of the 1950s. They were meant to be funny and only survived if they were. I gather that there are many who believe that the series stereotyped blacks and as a result, you can't find this delightful series anywhere. That's such a shame as the actors did a great job and never failed to make me laugh. I'm sure that all of those who played in the series have gone on to their final reward and it would be nice if they were given the credit they deserve. What better way than to resurrect the series on reruns. You wouldn't catch me anywhere other than in front of my T.V. when these great comedians were on the air.

Warlock (1989)
13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Warlock is Fun, Mystery, Drama and Supernatural. Just great, 9 March 2007
9/10

I rarely watch any thriller type movies that involve the supernatural and and sort of monster or witch. They all tend to have similar plots and fail to challenge the imagination. I only saw this movie because my wife and daughter had just tuned it in when I arrived home one day. I watched simply to spend some time with them and chat during commercial breaks. I was caught up in this story very quickly and remained glued to my seat until it was over. Basically a male witch, played by Julian Sands, who wishes to reverse creation by finding a long hidden biblical document, makes the leap from the 15th century to present day to search for it. He is pursued by an equally determined witch hunter, played by Richard Grant. The movie is comical one moment and bone chilling the next. It's well presented and thrilling from start to finish. The witch chaser pursues the warlock across country, with the assistance of a young lady who falls into the story, with the chase culminating in a Graveyard in a very old section of Boston. Lots of excitement, drama, comedy and horror along the way. A delight to watch.


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